Court upholds dismissal of $1-M graft case vs ex-Philpost chief
The Sandiganbayan has upheld its dismissal of the $1-million graft case filed against former Postmaster-General Diomedio Villanueva of the Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) on the grounds that the Ombudsman filed a “defective” charge sheet.
In a seven-page resolution, the court’s Seventh Division denied the appeal filed by Ombudsman prosecutors on the Aug. 24 ruling dismissing the case on a technicality.
The antigraft court earlier faulted the prosecution for failing to state that Villanueva acted with “manifest partiality,” “evident bad faith,” or “gross inexcusable negligence,” which are essential elements for a case of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Prosecutors argued that the court should have given the chance to amend the information and not dismiss the case outright.
But the Sandiganbayan cited the Supreme Court’s April 2017 ruling in the case of Maximo v. Villapando in saying “there is no point in proceeding under a defective information that could never be the basis of a valid conviction.”
The antigraft court added that the defect in the charge sheet was “so glaring to have escaped the prosecution’s attention,” especially since it had already filed numerous graft cases before.
The resolution was signed by Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta, Zaldy V. Trespeses and Bayani H. Jacinto.
The case arose from the Nov. 19, 2003, refund of $1,031,936.04 (equivalent to P53 million) to Philpost USA for terminal dues paid for mail sent to the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail. Prosecutors claimed Philpost USA was not entitled to the refund.